For the many pet owners in and around Groningen a missing cat, dog, or even rabbit can be quite a worry. Searching, putting up flyers and patiently waiting doesn’t often end with the return of that soft, faithful friend. There is another option, however, and that is to ring the Dierenambulance (Animal Ambulance).
Your animal may well have been picked up, if reported as a stray in some other neighbourhood, alternatively you can file a missing animal report with them. They take great care to include as many details as possible about the animal, where and when it was last seen, as well as any photographs you can supply them with for easier identification. When your pet reappears you will be informed by phone. In the sad case that the animal is not alive you will be called in to identify your pet and be given time to say goodbye, in a room specially set aside for that purpose. After that you will be helped with arrangements for burial or cremation.
In the case that the Animal Ambulance picks up an animal that has been hit by a car and its wounds are of a particularly serious nature, it will be immediately taken to the nearest vet.
Apart from domestic animals the Animal Ambulance also picks up and helps any other injured wild animals as well. In the case of birds, they are taken directly to Het Hemelrijk, a bird sanctuary on the edge of Groningen, where they are looked after until healthy enough to fend for themselves again.
The Vereniging Dierenambulance Groningen (The Association Animal Ambulance) was set up in 1979 with the idea of helping sick and wounded animals. It is open 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. The employees (numbering 50 in total) are mainly volunteers with a love for animals and who are prepared to give 20 hours a week of their time to helping animals. Before beginning each volunteer goes through an intensive training and takes a First Aid course for animals in order to be able to give immediate on site relief when necessary
The Animal Ambulance’s website: Dierenambulance (in Dutch) has information about the work they do, lost and found animals, and first aid solutions. Take a look at their promotion to get more of an idea. film
For funding the Animal Ambulance rely on subsidies from the Council of Groningen, but also receive help from the private sector (for example Century Auto Groep, and the ABN Amro). Otherwise, they receive annual donations from individuals as well as charitable donations from groups and schools.
So, if you are looking for a worthwhile cause to support. The Animal Ambulance is a good choice.
9743 AE Groningen
Information number: 050 579 1900
Alarm number: 050-5791909Fax: 050-5791922
First published in the Connections magazine #13 Autumn 2006